Monday, August 02, 2010

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bieber!

That's that. Publishing has finally collapsed under its internal contradictions-profits v. art-and now we have to see how the dust settles going forward. Tomorrow I am going to post the best rejection I have ever received but for today I must, must, must comment on this "breaking news" from HaplessCollins.

A PR blast:

HarperCollins Acquires Justin Bieber's Official Illustrated Memoir
NEW YORK and LONDON, Aug. 2 HarperCollins announced today the acquisition of the official illustrated memoir from multi-platinum selling superstar Justin Bieber. JUSTIN BIEBER: FIRST STEP 2 FOREVER: MY STORY will reveal Justin's amazing journey to superstardom. This beautifully designed hardcover book contains exclusive, never-before-seen photos -- a must-have for fans afflicted with Bieber-fever. The book will be published this October in both the United States ($21.99) and in the UK (16.99 pounds Sterling). "Every day I wake up and count my blessings. My fans have played such a large part in all of this and they help me live my dreams every day. I'm excited to share just a little bit more of my world with them through this book," says Justin Bieber. "Between the behind-the-scenes pictures and the story I think this is going to be something they can all enjoy. This is just another way for me to say thank you to my fans." Born in Stratford, Ontario, Justin Bieber is a multi-talented pop/soul singer and self-taught musician on drums, guitar, piano, and trumpet. As an amateur he posted renditions of his favorite hip-hop and R&B songs on, to the tune of 50 million views. Now, Bieber's video for "Baby" is the most-watched music video in YouTube history with more than 250 million views. Justin Bieber is the first solo artist in history to send four songs from a debut album into the Billboard Hot 100's Top 40 prior to the album's release. He is also the youngest male solo artist in the history of the Billboard 200 to chart a #1 album since 13-year-old Stevie Wonder did so in the summer of 1963. These accolades have resulted in total record sales to date exceeding 5 million. In 2007, his manager Scooter Braun introduced Justin to the music industry in Atlanta. Scooter Braun formed the RBMG joint-venture label with Usher and signed the 13-year-old Bieber to his first professional deal. RBMG in turn signed a deal with Antonio 'L.A.' Reid, Chairman of the Island Def Jam Music Group. Now, Braun and Creative Artists Agency have sold the rights to JUSTIN BIEBER: FIRST STEP 2 FOREVER: MY STORY to Anna Valentine, Harper Non-Fiction Senior Commissioning Editor (UK), and Emily Brenner, Vice President and Publisher of HarperFestival (US). "Justin's adoring and devoted fan base that started on YouTube now follows him to packed concert halls around the world," says Susan Katz, President and Publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books. "He is a force in the music industry and we are incredibly excited to be publishing this photographic memoir of his amazing journey." Valentine added, "This is a real coup for us and we are very excited about adding Justin to our autumn program. Justin is the hottest star of the moment and this book will be the perfect gift for his millions of fans worldwide."

(PRNewsFoto/HarperCollins, Pamela Littky)

Um, ok, where to begin. "A real coup?" I don't think that means what you think it does, Ms. Valentine. First, and most importantly he is 16. Who gives a shit what has happened in his 16 years? Second, who remembers Hanson? (M-m-m-bop) I know someone who doesn't: Justin Bieber. Can we just see how his "career" plays out before we start comparing him to Stevie Wonder? Third, instead of seeing this-Justin Bieber is the first solo artist in history to send four songs from a debut album into the Billboard Hot 100's Top 40 prior to the album's release-as something impressive is it possible that maybe, just maybe this is one of the saddest commentaries on the state of the recording industry ever written? I think it is an indictment of the way in which iTunes is ravaging the idea of the album but that is a story for another day. Really, it is just so sad. So, what would this "coup" look like in book form? Glad you asked! I happened to find a table of contents on the internets.

Chapter one: Burb. Milk time! I shit myself and mommy changed my diaper. (I'm a late starter.)
Chapter two: Drooled on myself and began my slow change toward being a tyrant. Time for rubber pants!
Chapter three: What is three?
Chapter four: Look who's talking!!!
Chapter five: The big J goes to kindergarten. Or gets a tutor...whatever...who needs to know what or where Germany is?
Chapter six: I feel funny "down there."
Chapter seven: The golden throated one starts to work the pipes.
Chapter eight: How do you like my hair? I told my mom not to cut it, jerk.
Chapter nine: Hey-oh, junior high school.
Chapter ten: Do I sound like Stevie Wonder (a.k.a. the other thirteen year old singer to hit the charts)?
Chapter eleven: Puberty!
Chapter twelve: Wow! This teen idol thing is's my hair?
Chapter thirteen: Zits!
Chapter fourteen: What is this "Germany" you keep asking me about?
Chapter fifteen: Hey, why is Tom Brady biting my style? Where is my motherf****n' black fur and leather jacket?
Chapter sixteen: C'mon ladies, I'm almost eighteen!

Ugh...just when I though publishing couldn't get any shallower the business manages to drain a little more water out of the tub. Listen, I am not saying that Justin Bieber is a bad guy-how the hell would I know-but I think we can all agree that right now there isn't anything in his life that anyone needs to know about. This book, the worst idea in the long, sad, sorry history of bad ideas is just plain stupid. It shows that the book business loves to stick Harper Lee in your face and claim that we are safeguarding the culture but really it is just a way block your eyesight while they reach around and try and grab your wallet.

Where is that Strychnine I bought for emergencies?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well I get it, kinda... publishers publish shit. But I don't know why this is being singled out for particular scorn aside from the totally disproportionate public scorn routinely directed at Justin Bieber. Let's be honest: the target audience for this book is tween girls. When I was a tween I subscribed to the Smurf fan club and various other fan newsletters; I would have killed for a "memoir" by one of the people/mythical creatures I idolized. I don't think this is symptomatic of a crisis in the publishing industry. I think the backlash against Bieber is rather typical of the kind of maliciousness that tends to follow performers whose audience is predominantly female, most of whom are treated as frivolous, ridiculous entertainment. I'm much more irritated by the preponderance of memoirs published by people who have done absolutely nothing except write a memoir... those really ARE symptomatic of a problem in the publishing world.